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July 09, 2004

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oyster

"I can't even begin to comprehend God. He's more difficult to understand than the Vietnam War."

I agree. It's like trying to understand Vietnam and also Nick Nolte. Infinitely difficult.

Yaron

I don't have much of an opinion on all the rest, but just to clarify, "thou shalt not kill" is actually a mistranslation. The correct translation is "thou shalt not murder". Killing as an instrument of justice or during warfare is allowed or sometimes even required. This mistranslation has caused a great amount of confusion over the years.

Rob

Yaron-

Yes, you're right, it would have been more accurate for me to say - the King James God was a hypocrite just as we are, while most other versions of God are okay. On the issue of whether human language is an adequate medium to carry God's message, Thomas Paine said it best:

"The errors to which translations are subject, the mistakes of copyists and printers, together with the possibility of wilful alteration, are of themselves evidences that human language, whether in speech or in print, cannot be the vehicle of the Word of God.--The Word of God exists in something else . . . Do we want to know what God is? Search not the book called the scripture, which any human hand might make, but the scripture called Creation."
(Thomas Paine, "The Age of Reason")

Oyster-

Don't try to understand Nick Nolte. Start with God and work your way up.

Isaac Butler

Yaron,

I agree, but Rob's point still stands, for several reasons. In Exodus, God purposefully "hardens the heart" of the Egyptians in order to justify God's own inflicting of pain on them -- that's not justice by any standard, including the one God lays out. In Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Numbers God makes it pretty damn clear that "murder" doesn't extend to anyone in a civilian population during wartime, thus allowing soldiers to main, kill, rape and enslave with abandon, which they go ahead and do when conquering the promised land (the Jews are some of the few people on Earth who record and reckon with their own prehistory of genocide).

It seems in some ways what God really means with that comandmant is that Jews shouldn't be killing other Jews. Except He doesn't, because one of the first things Moses does after getting the commandmants is slaughter half of the Jews for worshipping the Golden Calf under God's instruction. So God isn't even that concerned about the survival of the Jews (if the Holocaust didn't prove that as well, I suppose nothing will).

So, if you believe in God (as I don't) the question still remains... what the hell was He on about in either the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament?

One could ask the same thing about Nick Nolte, but the main question I have about him is... dude, don't you want Gary Busey to give you your DNA back?

Rob

Isaac-

No, I think the murder/kill distinction refutes your point. God clearly spells out when it is appropriate to kill. When He says, “Thou shalt not murder” he means - “You may not kill for a reason other than those which I have specified.” All the examples you gave fall within His guidelines of when people should be killed, do they not?

Yaron

The G-d of the Old Testament (as you Christians like to call it) is quite bloodthirsty, there's no two ways about it.

The hardening of Pharoah's heart is a bizarre little section of the story. There's really no way to justify it by our modern ethics.

I really like the Thomas Paine quote.

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